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Dennis Bangham

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since Feb 19, 2016
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I like to keep busy building, creating, learning. Since I am an engineer i find I need to do heavy work at home to make up for the hours of sitting in front of a computer all day at work. I hope to have a food forest in the front and backyard by the time I retire
Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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Recent posts by Dennis Bangham

Thanks Su Ba.  I think you are right about it being fly larva.  I ended up getting more than I can use right away.  
I will see if I can find covers and let it heat up inside the buckets and then use it soon as I can.  Maybe just pile it up around all my trees.  And cover with wood chips.
1 day ago
What are the tiny bugs that are growing in my spent coffee grounds?  
I let the coffee grounds dry out in 5 gallon buckets and now all of them are filled with little white bugs that appear to be in the larval stage.
2 days ago
I dug into the compost pile where I had made it from the horse manure last year.  Full of earth worms which I take is the best sign.
2 days ago
I am able to get some horse manure (as much as I want) and the stable owners say they use 2,4-D before harvesting the hay and feeding it to the horses.  

The piles are well composted and we have a hot and humid environment.

I did a bean test last year and the beans did great in a mix of manure and store bought potting mix.  The beans did not grow at all in the straight potting mix.  

I am wondering if the resulting 2,4-D is so well broken down that it is no longer measurable since the piles are at least a year old.

I will also mix some with wood chips and hot compost for next year.

Should I be concerned about using this manure  to top dress my vegetables and fruit trees?  

3 days ago

M. Korsz wrote: I grafted some figs that also leafed out and started growing but then failed.  Only one of them survived. I think the issue I had which sounds like yours as well, is the growing medium was too wet. I believe it was root rot that killed mine.

I have drowned many of a plant trying to grow cuttings.  I tend to over tend. I have not yet learned that nature did very well before I came long and will do very well after.  

I tried bottom watering in a standard greenhouse tray but over did that also. Maybe the vermiculite and sand is the answer I need and maybe not watering but 2 or 3 times a week while growing inside the house.

Suzanne Cornell wrote:... How would you go about doing this on a large scale? I guess a tractor would be needed to stir it up after the layers are starting to cool down? How often do you add the mushroom spoors? How do I grow enough mushrooms to do this without breaking the bank? Any ideas on large scale composting for 80 acres?
Also do I need to put inoculated wood in there? or will they grow on substrate in the compost.. There will be sawdust and wood chips in there also.

If you need to do this on a large scale then I recommend going to the next level of gourmet mushroom growing addiction. (I am on the 12 step recovery program now and only do log growing)  Oysters are the easiest (and tasty) gourmet mushrooms to grow.

I can recommend a source online where you can buy some inoculated bags of grain.  Mushroom Mountain (say hi to Tradd and Olga) or Field and Forest. Get the oysters that match the fruiting temperature with your expected temperature range for when you want to grow outside.  You can ask the site for advice on the fastest growing variety and temperature range for your area.  

You can expand the original colonized bag as much as a 1000 times (as told by Paul Stamets) and maybe more.  A 5 pound bag can grow to 5000 pounds.

You will need to sterilize more bags of grain (Rye or oat works good) so you can expand the first bag up to 10 times. the moisture content needs to be 55 to 60% (aka field capacity).  so for a 5 lb bag you need a little more water (by weight) than gain.  The 5 pound bags are the norm. Your grandmom's pressure cooker is the key here to properly sterilize.  (15 PSI/250F for 90 minutes).  I am not sure if the new smart cookers get high enough pressure to sterilize.  You can sterilize at lower pressures but it takes longer.  I built a sterilizing drum that is at atmospheric pressure and takes 24 hours to sterilize 50 bags.

You can repeat this expansion again and get 100 bags this way. Continue expanding until your neighbors complain.

You will need the bags that have 5.0 micron filters to keep out other spores and molds.  The sources mentioned above can help.  The filters allow air in and keep bad stuff out.  During the expanding the idea is to keep the "too little to see fungi and mold spores" from getting into the sterilized grain.  You are creating an environment that is very nutritious and warm and wet so everything likes to grow in it.  

Fun experiment. Get a petri dish and open it for an hour while in your cleanest room. Close the lid and see what grows.

for expanding:
In a very clean area (with little to no air flow and nothing floating around - misting with 10% bleach may help or do this inside a still air box or large clear bag), you can mix some of the original colonized grain in with the sterilized grain and seal the top (Wire wrapped around the neck works) and let it sit in a room with a little bit of indirect sunlight and at 68 to 75 degrees F.  Wait a couple of weeks and when the bags are 30% white on the outside, you mix it up good and let it sit for another week or two, until it is fully colonized and almost pure white.
Ready for plugging into your piles but make sure that the piles are not hot.  Mycelium does not like to be cooked and will only fruit when the temperature and moisture is right.  Think of the mushrooms as only the fruit. what grows underneath is the tree.  Fore remediation, toss the fruit and spread the tree around as compost.  

I think there are many that can correct as needed and of course add to this.  
5 days ago

Mike Barkley wrote:
Asparagus does require patience. (& the more the merrier) I feel it is well worth the extra effort to initially prepare the asparagus bed & the several year wait for a reasonable first crop.

 Maybe I did not give mine enough time. I had maybe 8 plants but was only getting enough for a meal for one person every two weeks.  In the past I read that it would take 25 plants to give a regular crop for two people.  If I can ever get hold of the vacant lot next door then that is something I can pursue but right now I only have 0.65 acres and am growing on maybe 1/3rd acre.
Looking into the walking onions led me to a link of interest at plants for a future. It lists 10 plants for investigation.

1. Hablitzia Tamnoides or Caucasian spinach
2. Skirret
3. Nine Star Perennial Broccoli
4. Taunton Deane Kale also known as Cottagers Kale
5. Purple Tree Collard
6. Chinese Artichoke
7. Yacon or Peruvian Ground Apple
8. Mashua
9. Babington’s Leek
10. Walking Onion

Thanks for the ideas.  Some planning needed for next spring.

I have been thinking of asparagus but realize it takes many plants to get any real crop from them.

I do like the ideas of rhubarb, walking onions, lovage and sorrel.  I just bought lovage and angelica root to make some tinctures for my allergy related asthma.  

I have never heard of Malva moschata and found that it can grow in Tennessee and I am a stones throw south of there so I may try musk mallow.  

While I have heard that some lillies are edible and some are not. May find it hard to deprive the bees and others from their food.  I did not know milkweed was edible but have grown it for the butterflies.  For some reason it did not reseed.

I have several goji berries going and they do seem to be slow growing here.  I get a lot of root suckers and am aware they can spread like crazy
I am hoping to plant in the spaces (~18 ft) between my fruit trees.  I will maintain my fruit trees to under 12 ft so there is some afternoon sun on the east/west side of each tree.

Through this Permies website I have learned about Orach and Cardoon, which I think I can grow in North Alabama (Zone 7b) and will try next spring.  

Are there any other perennial vegetables that I can plant in my newly wood chipped backyard?